Hot Springs for Health in France – la cure thermale

It can be very difficult to find information on the science behind the benefits of hot springs in English.  So I turned to France to get a sense of the proven medicinal benefits of springs.

Photo by Romaineolas (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The French health care system has included “thermal medicine” since 1947.  There is a national network of springs spas that provide services covered by the healthcare system, called CNETh.  Each spring has certain specialties, maybe rheumatism, psoriasis, or cardiac diseases.  There is a cancer recovery cure system of 11 or 12 days.  You can easily find a spa that will treat your particular ailment by using this central website.  Your doctor will prescribe the cure and when you attend the spa you will be supervised by a team of doctors and nurses who are trained in thermal medicine.

By Jeunamateur via Wikimedia Commons

About 73% of the prescribed cures in France are for rheumatoid diseases while 11% are for respiratory ailments.  Thermal cures are also used for digestive and skin ailments, psychological and developmental difficulties.  Although its use is fairly widespread, thermal medicine only represents about 0.14% of the overall health budget.

In 2004, the national association started a fund to support research into thermal medicine.  The results of these studies can be found here.  My favourite study was on generalized anxiety disorder, with the control group on a prescription for paroxitene.  After 8 weeks, there was a significant improvement for the springs group.

Here at Hot Springs Aficionado, we try to visit hot springs or spas at least once a month because we can feel a positive effect on our bodies and our minds.  We plan to share a lot more information about how hot springs affect us and how we can use hot springs to bring wellness to our busy modern lifestyle – follow us on social media or by email to learn more about hot springs and health.

As a teaser, here is a video of the pool Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to recover from bouts of polio so that he could continue serving as President of the United States.